I See You – Clare Mackintosh – Audible Book Review by Pat V.
In recent years there has been a renaissance of intriguing psychological crime novels by women authors, the most notable, perhaps, being the hugely popular Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train. Former policewoman, Clare Mackintosh, can now be added to the list following the success of her first book, I Let You Go, which won the Theakston Old Peculier (sic) Crime Novel of the Year Award 2016 (beating JK Rowling’s alter ego Robert Galbraith, Mark Billingham and Adrian McKinty, all of whom were shortlisted).
Her second novel, I See You, recently available from Audible, is sure to be equally successful. It is a book for our times dealing with themes of identity theft, stalking and online dating. It begins with Zoe Walker, a middle-aged mother of two grown-up children, seeing a picture of herself in the classifieds section for a dating site in a London newspaper. There is no explanation; just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it is just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day a similar advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Initially it seems like a prank. However, when Zoe discovers that one of the women who featured in the ads was murdered, she realises that she is in real danger. What follows is an edge-of-the-seat thriller of an ordinary person caught up in an extraordinary situation. In spite of their best efforts, the Murder Squad, ably assisted by PS Kelly Swift of the British Transport Police, always seem to be one step behind the perpetrator who seems to be able to hack into their computer system. Feeling let down by the police, Zoe begins to suspect the people around her: her boss, her friends and even members of her family and Mackintosh skilfully keeps the reader equally suspicious.
As with many books of this genre, the conclusion is not as satisfying as the lead up. There is too much melodrama in the last section and our credulity is stretched but it has been a roller-coaster of a ride to get that far and well worth the journey. Mackintosh shows how in this age when CCTV charts our every movement, the information that should be there to protect us can fall into unscrupulous hands and put us in danger.
Rachel Atkins (Vicky Tucker in The Archers) is an excellent choice as reader. She is equally convincing as the surly teenage son, Justin; the difficult daughter, Katie; the pushy neighbour, Melissa; the efficient PS Swift and Zoe, herself, frightened and wary. Listening to this book as you follow your daily routine will add an extra frisson and make you look around nervously and wonder who exactly is watching your every movement!
The audiobook is available from audible.co.uk and lasts 10h 59mins